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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Sock-cess!

Well, just in case you thought I had fallen down in my pursuit of wooliness, I wanted to give you an update on Sock-It-To-Me-2008!

first sockUsing the basic sock pattern found in Learn to Knit Socks!, I have successfully completed my very first sock!  I even dared to alter the pattern a (very) little by making the ankle a bit longer.  Well, ten rows longer, be exact, so that it would be more of a boot sock and less like an ankle sock.  And it really, really works!  I immediately tried in on, and in doing so welcomed it into the reality that is my life at home: a thousand pet hairs.

sock againHere I am modelling my new sock.  It fits perfectly, and is exceptionally wooly!  In this picture, you can not only see the completed blue wool sock molding itself to my comely foot, but you can also view my fashionable polar fleece pajamas, so heralded of late!  Abby may look like she’s disdainful of my new knitted creation, but really, what she’s saying is…

“Mommy!  Your sock is so beautiful I must turn away in shame!  If only I had opposable thumbs with which to create such wonders, but alas, I am resigned to chasing cats and making my toys squeak in order to preserve my canine self-esteem.”

Well, maybe I exaggerate a bit…really, she’s just turned her head to chase Alys around the dining room table.  Her life is complete without arts and crafts projects, unless you count tearing empty toilet paper rolls into little bits of wet cardboard a craft….

next sockNow, all I need to do is finish a second sock to accompany the first!  Why, wait! What have we here….? I do believe it’s the first four rows of the mate to this sock.  Ah, I love knitting on a snowy day!  Almost as much as I love polar fleece.  But not as much as I love Abby.

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The plot thickens…

Phase 2 of the Great Sock Plan for 2008 has been completed!  I went to the yarn store today…

…and it was missing.  Yes, the whole yarn store.  Either they packed up and left unannounced, or I invented a yarn store in that particular area of town.  Unfortunately, the odds are that I invented it.  But one way or another, there is no specialty yarn store in my town.

Sock Phase 2Not to be discouraged, I went to JoAnn’s, and this is what I came up with.  Everything for knitting was on sale at the store, so I felt perfectly justified in purchasing an appropriate skein of wool yarn for making bulky socks, three sets of aluminum (ick – note to self: buy more bamboo dpns at the earliest opportunity) double-pointed knitting needles, and two “intro to socks” books.

 I found two books that I thought would be useful.  The first is aptly titled Learn to Knit Socks, and the straightforward sock book 1title of the book inspired me to confidently proclaim, “Yes! I can learn to knit socks!”  Frankly, you’d be surprised how much cheerleading takes place in the aisles of craft stores….

The second book is more artfully titled, Pull Your Socks Up! and is published by the good folks who make Patons yarns.  I’m going to knit a pattern or two out of the first book before moving on to the second one.

So, now I’ve assembled most of the elements of the Sock-it-to-Me-in-2008.  All that I lack is time….and thankfully, one of my very favorite knitting opportunities is going to arise tomorrow: college football! 

Go Dawgs! Sic ’em! Woofwoofwoofwoofwoof! 

The Georgia Bulldogs are in the Sugar Bowl tomorrow, so I’ll have about 4 straight hours to knit. 

Isn’t it wonderful when all the elements of nature align just so?

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Please send knitting needles…

After a frantic period of knitting projects for others this year, and the realization that I haven’t knitted anything for myself in about two years, I have decided to dedicate this year of knitting to me.  [Now I’m sure you’re all convinced that I’m on a narcissistic freefall into Egoville…] 

It all started with my sock drawer.  Or maybe it was my washing machine.  Perhaps it was the dog…Regardless, I seem to have fewer socks than I used to have.  I definitely have fewer pairs of socks, with some of my favorite fluffy socks so sad and mateless in the sock drawer, pining away for the unlikely return of their sole mate.  

Now, fluffy socks, with thick yarn, are my very favorite type of sock.  Some people call them boot socks, but for me there are no other socks, so I just call them socks.  When I say “socks” I mean thick, wooly, slouchy, warm saaaw-haaawkssss.  White, generic hosiery that comes six-to-a-bag for $5 at WalMart need not apply, and will be given no consideration.  Fie on you, feckless footwear!  You are a disgrace to knitted toe-warmers everywhere.

Ahem.  Sorry about that rant.

Anyway, the boo-hooing of the mateless socks in my sock drawer has started to keep me up at night.  I’m almost afraid to go in there each morning….which pair of brown Fair Isle socks will have recieved the dreaded “Dear Lefty” letter in the last wash? While I was out Christmas shopping this year, I searched for socks that would meet my requirements, but found surprisingly few.  I asked my family to give me socks as a gift, but they just laughed at me, as if I had said something comical.  What crazy person, afterall, would request socks for Christmas? Socks are traditionally the “I don’t know you well enough to get you something meaningful” gift, not the object of Christmas desire.  It was just too unlikely a request for my family to take seriously.

No socks in drawer. 

No socks in store. 

No socks under tree. 

No socks for me!

And suddenly, two days after Christmas, a stroke of genius occurs to me!  Let’s do the math together: 

Knitting knowledge + yarn + needles + pattern = socks!

Okay, it’s not really an original thought, and if I’d really been a genius, I would have embarked on sock knitting long before now, but I’ve done most of my knitting for other people that it honestly had never occured to me to look to my own knitwear deficiencies as a source of inspiration. 

So here’s the plan:  This year, I will learn how to knit socks.  I will knit socks for myself out of decadent yarns that will make my feet feel like royalty. I will buy funky colors as well as traditional colors. 

It feels good to have a plan.  It will feel even better to have new socks! 

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I thought I’d pop up for a little rarified air for a moment and let anyone out there who reads this know that I’m still alive.  My MIL has arrived, the shopping is done, the wrapping is done, the knitting is mostly done, the baking is…well, it will be a full day of baking tomorrow, but at least everything else is done.  I’m ready to cruise on into Christmas Day. 

And now that most of the knitted gifts have been distributed, I can show you what I’ve been working on!   Of course, you’ve already seen the Grandpa Hat, but I’ve been keeping the under wraps until Emilie opened her gifts.   

headbandsUsing this pattern from Craftgrrl, I made these headbands for my coworkers in the department.   They were great fun to do, and I have definitely added it to my repertoire of small handmade gifts.    The only thing I would recommend if you make these is that you are careful with the temperature of the iron when you block them.  I think I was a bit overeager and when I steamed one of them, it seemed to lose some of its elasticity.   I’m guessing it was a property of the yarn, probably the acryilic content.

Emilie’s giftSo, next I made additional headband for Emilie, in her favorite color of orange, with a matching pair of wristlets made from this pattern by Delia at wineandneedles.blogspot.com  They turned out really cute, and she looked splendid in them! So chic and characteristically Emilie!  I had actually latched onto this pattern initially for my grandmother’s gift, a set of these wristlets in pink.  She’s always cold, even in the house, and I thought these were the ideal solution to keep her hands warm while still allowing her to use her fingers.

I started a hat for my brother with this pattern, but it’s still on the needles.  In a fit of desperation, I drove out to Old Navy and bought him a shirt.  I guess he will be first on my knitted gift list next year!

 So, that’s what the Knitting elves produced this year, when they could get around the housecleaning elves and the baking elves.  Ooooh, wouldn’t that be lovely…a whole staff of house elves to help me get through the holidays!  Honestly, I’d be really good to them, Dobby!

If I don’t get a chance to post again before tomorrow, Merry Christmas to everyone! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you through your blogs and your comments, and I’m sure the New Year will bring many warm exchanges and new (albeit online) friendships. 

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The Grandpa Hat

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m frenetically knitting gifts for my family this year.  On Friday, while I was home with a bug, I managed to finish the largest of the gifts, a hat for my grandfather.

Grandpa Hat

It’s just a hat.  A dark green wool cabled hat, and honestly, it seems so inadequate.  Given the option and the ability, there’s nothing I wouldn’t give this man.  We’ve shared so much this year since I’ve been gardening with him, and I’ve learned important truths about my family, my grandparents, and myself.  How do you recognize that kind of relationship? What kind of gift says “Thank you for showing me so much about life this year”? 

If I could, I would repair his tractor for him, to make it shine and purr like it did when it was new so that he could see it that way again.  If I could, I would buy him an entire library of books on cd so that he could “read” again, despite his debilitating blindness.  If I could, I would take him to Alaska, a place he always wanted to see, and never could.

But I have to be content that I’ve done what I could, and hope that it conveys the depth of feeling I have for  him.  I’ve spent my time working with him, learning from him, listening to him.  I’ve learned to value the things he values, whether it’s the working of hands or the working of minds. 

And I knit him this small hat to keep his head warm when he walks his dogs.  So small.  So inadequate.  How can I let him know that with each stitch in the hat I was thinking of him?  That this hat is more than yarn and time and technique, but also composed of love, and prayers, and thanksgiving, and appreciation? 

I can’t tell him that, not out loud, but I can pray that he knows, that maybe he can sense that the warmth on his head is in some small way, the warmth of my heart.

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